The James Irvine Foundation Releases New Study as Part of Its Arts Engagement Focus Series

The James Irvine Foundation shares its research findings about arts groups that are expanding their settings and venues to engage new and diverse audiences.

Josephine Ramirez of the Foundation writes:

This release is part of an Arts Engagement Focus series intended to uncover valuable, practical information that can help arts organizations better address key questions: Who participates in arts? How can we engage new participants? Where can arts participation take place? Together, these studies provide a timely and substantive view of arts engagement across the sector — they can inspire ideas and fuel discussion in arts organizations of all sizes, ages and types.

The Hewlett Foundation Shares Its Assessment of Regranting Intermediaries Strategy

Earlier this year, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation conducted an assessment of its approach to support regranting intermediaries. It sought to forecast the funding environment for current intermediaries in its Performing Arts Program, better understand who benefits from the foundation's current intermediary funding strategy - and who doesn't, and develop recommendations on how to better serve the Bay Area performing arts ecosystem in accordance with its strategic framework. The foundation makes assessment available to the larger arts and culture field as a way to share "lessons learned."

NEFA Names Cathy Edwards as Executive Director

From the News page at New England Foundation for the Arts:

Lawrence J. Simpson, board chair of the New England Foundation for the Arts, announced that Cathy Edwards will join the organization as executive director, beginning late January, 2015. Ms. Edwards comes to NEFA from the International Festival of Arts & Ideas in New Haven, CT, where she has served as director of programming since 2006. She has also served as the artistic director of the Time-Based Art Festival at PICA in Portland, OR. Previously, she was artistic director of Dance Theater Workshop in New York City, and co-director of Movement Research in New York City.

Why One Funder Eliminated Grantee Budgets to Improve Financial Due Diligence

The Unitarian Universalist Veatch Program at Shelter Rock on Long Island awards approximately $12 million annually to nearly 200 organizations nationwide. After working with a consultant to overhaul the financial component of its application process, the program eliminated requests for budgets last year. The Foundation Review published the case study titled, "In Other Words, the Budgets Are Fake: Why One Funder Eliminated Grantee Budgets to Improve Financial Due Diligence." Through this report, the Veatch Program proposes one model for reducing administrative burden on applicants while simultaneously getting a clearer picture of an applicants' financial well-being and capacity to fulfill project goals.

Who's There for Musicians When Times Get Tough?

Funders can do more than just support artists with discrete project needs; they can help artists survive unexpected challenges.

From Mike Scutari, Inside Philanthropy:

Who's there for musicians when times get tough? The answer is the MusiCares Foundation. Established in 1989 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, its primary purpose is to focus the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues which directly impact the health and welfare of the music community.

Both Sides Moving On after Messy Museum Breakup in Miami

From Eileen Cunniffe, writing for Nonprofit Quarterly:

After many months of rancor, which NPQ has followed with attention to the governance, management, and community relations implications of a messy nonprofit meltdown, the dust appears to be settling around the reconfigured Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) North Miami and the newly established Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) Miami. The public mud-slinging began last spring, but trouble had been simmering for some time between the City of North Miami — which owns the building MOCA North Miami has long occupied — and the trustees of the institution, who wanted to expand the facility or move its collection to another location.

National Endowment for the Arts Awards $29 Million for Arts Projects

From the News page at National Endowment for the Arts:

From partnerships to develop a districtwide arts education plan in North Carolina to poetry from a combat engineer to a folk arts festival in rural Wyoming, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) continues to support the arts and creativity to improve lives and communities in the United States. In its first fiscal year 2015 announcement, the NEA will award $29.1 million in 1,116 grants in three categories: Art Works, Challenge America, and NEA Literature Fellowships in Creative Writing.

Phoenix Art Museum Names Amada Cruz as Executive Director

From Kerry Lengel, writing for the Arizona Republic:

San Antonio Artpace executive director Amada Cruz was named Monday to guide the Phoenix Art Museum, a $9 million-a-year non-profit, which brings 200,000 visitors a year to Phoenix. Cruz, 53, who was born in Havana, has extensive experience in both the arts and non-profit worlds and starts work February 1. First on her to-do list, Cruz said, is a "crash course" on Phoenix's culture and history.
Study Asks "Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?"

A study released by Grantmakers for Effective Organizations, Is Grantmaking Getting Smarter?, showed that grantmakers are making shifts on how they support their grantees. Among these shifts is the increasing support for general operating, multiyear, and capacity-building purposes. A median 25% of grant dollars now go to general operating support - up from 20% in 2008 and 2011.

Making Arts Policy a Priority

From the editorial page of The Boston Globe:

Despite the boilerplate campaign rhetoric of “I support the arts!,” when hard times hit, and austerity is called for, arts are the first thing to go. Nowhere is that more evident than in the budget for the Massachusetts Cultural Council — the state agency charged with supporting artists and arts organizations — where the funding dropped by more than half, from $27 million in 1988 to $12 million in 2014. Recently, the dial has begun to move in the other direction. The Legislature opposed further cuts to the council’s budget in 2014 by actually giving it a slight increase. And Governor Deval Patrick tripled the Cultural Facilities Fund — which supports the maintenance and repair of arts venues — from $5 million to $15 million. Meanwhile, it would be nice to get the council’s budget up to at least what it was 10 years ago.